Summary: This is a vision that Alice probably didn't have, but I thought it would be neat if she did. Set after Edward's return from Alaska after running away from Bella on her first day at school. Don't worry, it's in canon.
Disclaimer: I don't own Edward. Nor anyone else from Twilight. They're all Stephenie Meyer's. Dammit.
Author's Note: I'd like to thank KlutzLikeBella for her brilliant work in beta-ing this story. She had endless patience in reading version after version and made many amazing suggestions for improvement. And without her, this story would have been lost in a sea of quotation marks. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You should check out her stories – they're amazing.
I sat on the couch, leaning on Carlisle's shoulder. A book lay forgotten on my lap. Carlisle quietly flipped the pages of his own book, content to read quietly and enjoy the tranquility of the house.
Alice sat on Jasper's lap on the other couch, seemingly engrossed in the television show they watched with the volume turned down low.
Rosalie and Emmett were in their room, spending personal time together.
And Edward was home again. Thank God. I sighed with contentment. My family was whole once more.
When my children had come home from school and Alice told me that Edward had left, I had felt myself drowning in despair and terror, despite Jasper's best efforts to comfort me. All I could think was that I had lost my son again.
The thought of losing one of my children always terrified me. The death of my first son had killed me. The memory of his pitiful wails and of the terrible silence that came later still caused my chest to constrict with pain. Then a decade later, losing Edward, when he had lost himself to his baser nature, had felt like dying all over again.
Like any mother, I loved all my children. I would never admit it to anyone except Carlisle, but Edward was my favorite. He was the first of my new sons, the first to begin to fill the void left in my heart by the death of my baby. And Edward needed me. Jasper and Alice had each other, as did Emmett and Rosalie. But Edward was alone. His loneliness, the emptiness of his solitude, called to my protective maternal instincts.
The last time Edward left, he was gone for four long years. He had rebelled, and eventually he had returned. This time I had feared he would be gone for even longer. I had been afraid that he would never return to us. But thankfully, it was only a week before Alice saw that Edward was on his way home.
Tonight, soft jazz music drifted down from his room. The sounds were soothing and matched my thoughtful, contented mood perfectly.
I sighed again and snuggled closer to Carlisle. He put his arm around my shoulders and held me close.
Suddenly, across the room, Alice stiffened. Her eyes widened as they did when she had a vision she was not expecting. The unexpected ones were always stronger. Jasper tightened his grip on his wife and waited for her to surface from the vision, his eyes focused on her face.
Carlisle and I both watched our daughter as well, patiently waiting for her to come back to us. I wondered idly what she was seeing. Was it visitors? Were more of our kind coming? Perhaps the Denali clan?
Edward's sudden strangled cry made me jump. "NO!" he howled from upstairs. I heard his bedroom door bang open and he flew angrily down the stairs, shouting "No! No! No!" He came to a stop in front of Alice. His face was contorted with rage . . . and horror.
Dear God, what was Alice seeing?
"No! You're wrong! I won't do that!" Edward yelled at Alice. Still lost in her vision, Alice didn't react. But Jasper protectively pulled his wife even closer and growled at Edward. Edward ignored him.
Rosalie and Emmett, drawn by the commotion, came to the top of the stairs.
"What's going on?" Emmett asked. His eyes darted around the room, looking for an answer, as he and Rosalie came down the stairs.
Carlisle answered him without looking away from Alice and Edward. "We don't know yet. Edward, what's she seeing?" he asked Edward out loud for the benefit of the rest of us.
Edward shook his head at Carlisle's question – a quick angry gesture as if to shoo away an annoying fly.
"Alice, that won't happ . . ." He stopped, and straightened, recoiling from Alice, his eyes wide with shock. "What the hell?" he whispered. His tone was one of outright disbelief, as if what he and Alice saw was absurdly impossible. "That can't . . ." he paused again. His disbelief left him speechless. He stared wide-eyed at Alice. His jaw worked from time to time but no further sound escaped him.
I desperately wanted to know if Carlisle understood any of this, but I couldn't pull my eyes away from the drama before me to look at him. In truth, I'm sure he was as confused and worried as I was.
Alice sat unmoving, still captured by the future she watched unfold. Then she sighed and sagged against Jasper's chest.
We were silent for an interminable moment; no one moved.
Rosalie was the first to break the silence. "What the hell was that?" she demanded angrily, with her hands on her hips, glaring around the room.
"Language, Rosalie," I muttered the admonition out of habit. Truthfully, I wondered the same thing.
Carlisle stood. "Alice? What did you see?"
She looked up at him, her eyes still wide with shock and disbelief. "Edward," she answered. "I saw Edward."
Edward drew a shaky breath and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and his fingers. He walked slowly to the window and stood with his back to us.
"Alice?" Carlisle prompted.
Alice threw Edward a furtive look as if she expected him to object to her answering, before she turned back to Carlisle. "I saw Edward. He . . ."
"What you saw was nonsense," Edward interrupted harshly.
"What I saw was a possible future, a . .." she shot back defensively.
"What you saw was insane!" He countered, cutting her off. Then he laughed derisively. "Really, Alice. What have you been drinking? You should take care not to drink from sick animals. You're hallucinating."
Alice stared defiantly back at him, her jaw set at a stubborn angle. "You know better, Edward. The visions I have are always things that are possible . . ."
"And you think that qualifies?" he shouted back at her, interrupting her again.
"Enough," Carlisle barked, putting an end to the bickering. "Alice, start at the beginning. What did you see?"
With a mutinous look at Edward, Alice sat straighter, turned to the rest of us and said:
It was night and the room was very dark. Edward stood in the shadows, away from the little light that came in through the window. My perspective, in my vision, was as if I were facing him. He was looking at something behind me. His expression was hungry, even though his eyes were light gold and he had obviously hunted very recently.
Then he slowly stepped forward and my perspective revolved around him until it was as if I stood behind him.
He silently approached a small bed with an old worn quilt rumpled over it. It took me a moment to see the slender girl tangled among the blankets. It was Isabella Swan. She lay on her side, turned away from him. Her arm peeked out from the quilts and her dark hair spilled over the pillow. Her face was peaceful. She slept, oblivious to the vampire who was standing silently over her.
He stood, looking down at her for a long time. Because of my position behind him, I couldn't see his face to read his emotions. The sound of her heartbeat filled the room.
Then, after what felt like an eternity, Edward reached down and lifted the edge of the blankets. Moving very slowly, careful not to wake her, he slid under the covers beside her.
Alice seemed oblivious to my growing horror. My thoughts echoed Edward's earlier cries, No, no, no.
Ignoring my mounting tension, Alice continued:
He rested one elbow beside her and leaned over her still sleeping form. With his other hand, he gently reached out and brushed her hair back from her neck, exposing her snow white flesh to the little light that there was in her dark bedroom. I could see her pulse beating in her tender flesh. Slowly, reverently, he leaned closer and closer, and pressed his lips to her neck.
"Oh shit!" Emmett's outburst broke the spell cast by Alice's dark vision. "Shit, shit, shit!" Emmett fell back a step as if to distance himself from the future Alice laid out.
Instinctively, I reached for Edward's hand to comfort him. He pulled away from me before I could touch him. In the early days of our relationship, his withdrawal would have hurt my feelings, but now I understood that though he loved me as a mother, he preferred not to be touched. I still wished he allowed me the contact, if not for his comfort, then for mine.
"We have to move," I declared. "Now. Tonight." I had to protect my son – even if it was from himself. I needed him to be far away from here. And I needed us all to be together. "Rosalie, Emmett, start packing. Jasper, start with your and Alice's things. I'll help you in a moment."
Rosalie opened her mouth to protest. My temper flared and I prepared to put her in her place. I was in no mood to argue with her about this.
Then to my surprise, Edward snickered. "Wait. Let Alice finish. It gets much better," he said sarcastically.
"There's more?" I gasped. How could this get worse?
Carlisle, his perpetual calm unruffled as always, spoke in that tone that allowed no argument. "Calm down, everyone. None of this has happened yet. We still have time. Go on, Alice. What happened then?"
Looking uncertain about how her words would be received, Alice continued somewhat hesitantly:
When Edward pressed his lips to Isabella's neck, she drew a deep breath and arched her back against his chest. She reached up with her hand and threaded her fingers through Edward's hair, pulling him closer to her. Then she sighed and sleepily said his name. "Edward".
There was stunned silence for a moment. Then Jasper breathed, "What the hell?"
Edward snickered again and replied, "That's what I said."
Ignoring the interruption, Alice continued:
Disentangling himself from her grasp, Edward leaned back against her pillows. Isabella rolled over to face him and curled her body against his. He wrapped his arms around her and held her. She burrowed her face into his neck, sighed deeply and said, "Welcome home, Edward."
He smiled tenderly and gently stroked her cheek with his fingertips.
"Did you catch anything yummy?" she inquired.
He tightened his arms around her, and chuckled. "I have now."
She laughed softly and burrowed closer to him. She caressed his cheek with her hand and let it drift down his neck to his chest.
"I missed you," she murmured. "Will you be here in the morning?"
"Of course, I will." He kissed her forehead gently. "Now sleep, my sweet Bella."
"I love you, Edward," she breathed.
He caressed her dark hair, letting his hand trail gently down her back and answered her softly, "You are my life." Then he laughed quietly. "You are also very tired. Sleep, my love."
With a contented sigh, she relaxed against him.
"And that's when my vision ended," Alice concluded.
My jaw had dropped open. I looked at the others. We all looked equally stunned.
Carlisle recovered first and asked "Alice, can you clarify what you meant? When Edward told Isabella that she appealed to him as prey, did she understand him?"
Alice nodded, "Yes, she understood him. And she laughed and snuggled closer to him."
"You see how insane this is?" Edward declared angrily.
Emmett gaped. "She laughed? There's a vampire in her bed telling her she smells 'yummy' and she laughs. Yep. This is nuts!" Turning to Alice he added seriously, "Alice, you know I love you and I trust you completely, but this makes no sense. I've got to agree with Edward on this one."
Ignoring Emmett's editorial, Carlisle asked, "And she was definitely human?" We all knew the answer to that. But Carlisle was a very logical man and he never made assumptions. It was part of what made him such an excellent physician. He would work through a problem, examining all the facts until he arrived at the only solution that could be correct, no matter how unlikely it was.
"She was sleeping, Carlisle," Alice answered. "Not to mention her heartbeat." And she added as an afterthought, "And her eyes were brown."
"Maybe she doesn't know he's a vampire?" I suggested hopefully. What else could explain her bizarre reaction? It was a vain hope. I realized that as soon as the words left my mouth.
It was Edward who answered me. He smiled indulgently at me. "'Did you catch anything yummy?'" he quoted incredulously. "That's hardly what you ask a human, Esme. Besides with her body pressed against mine like that, she had to notice I was a little colder than she was."
"Wait a minute," Emmett asked, putting up both his hands in a signal to stop. "What you're saying is that when Edward put his lips to that girl's throat, he was actually kissing her?"
Emmett laughed. "Well, I don't know what's weirder – a vampire kissing a human's throat or Edward kissing a girl! Never thought I'd see either one! One thing's sure, Alice – you need your vision checked!"
Both Jasper and Rosalie laughed.
My nerves were too strained for this nonsense. "That's enough! If you don't have anything constructive to add, be quiet!"
"Sorry, Mom," Emmett mumbled, looking abashed.
Carlisle looked thoughtful. "It's a valid point to consider, though I would have phrased it differently than Emmett chose to. Is Isabella a pretty girl? Is she attractive, Edward?"
"Carlisle," Edward sounded thoroughly exasperated. "You honestly think any part of that vision is possible?! How can you believe any physical attraction would matter in the least? When I caught a single whiff of her, it was all I could do not to murder twenty innocent children just to taste her. The only way I held myself back from committing mass murder was to promise myself that if I waited one more hour I could take my time with her and savor her slowly."
Oh no! I had realized he was tempted that day, but I had had no idea how close he had come to murdering those children. Or that the only way he stopped himself was the promise of Isabella's slow death.
Ignoring my thoughts, he thundered on, "And you think I can lay down in the bed that she sleeps in for eight hours a night, surrounded by that mouthwatering scent, and hold her while she sleeps? Have you lost your mind? Because I know I wouldlose mine if I were anywhere near her in that small room. Can you imagine how her scent must saturate that entire place? You actually believe I could lie beside her like that and not hurt her? Maybe I should read her a bedtime story. Or sing her a lullaby."
"I understand you're distressed, Edward. But sarcasm is not helpful," Carlisle chastised.
Edward's temper was never far from the surface but his reaction seemed disproportionately angry. I wondered why he was so defensive. Was it the shock of seeing himself with a companion, a woman he could love? Or was it protectiveness of her? Was he afraid of vampires being near her? Was he already starting to bond to her?
"Don't be ridiculous, Esme," he muttered to me.
Jasper had remained silent as he too considered the possibilities of Alice's vision. "My God, the Volturi!" Jasper groaned as he realized what their reaction would likely be if this vision came to pass. "In the vision, she knows what Edward is. They'll come after us for that."
I shivered. He was right of course.
Alice disagreed. "No one's going to tell the Volturi, Jasper. This isn't something that would draw their attention. They'd come if we started killing everyone in Washington State, but where Edward chooses to spend his nights is beneath their notice. I think it would be perfectly wonderful for Edward and Isabella to get together. She's human, but we could make this work. There are options."
Edward's volatile temper was back again.
"Sure, Alice" he said his voice dripping with sarcasm. "In fact, maybe I'll just move in with her. We can live with her dad and raise a bunch of half-vamp children. Maybe I'll join the police force and become a crime-fighting superhero, which would be about as realistic as your vision of the future."
Alice closed her eyes and sighed, "Edward, I don't make this stuff up. It just comes to me. I'm not saying it will happen – just that it could happen. If things remain unchanged, it remains a possibility. It all depends on the decisions people make. You know that."
"Then let's look at this logically," Jasper suggested. "What changed? Alice's visions are sparked by decisions. Edward, did you make any choices just before Alice's vision?"
Edward frowned and pinched the bridge of his nose again. "I decided I'd go back to school tomorrow. She can't possibly smell as good as I remember from that first day." He sighed and added, "And I decided to talk to her, to learn more about her, so I could stop seeing her as prey and start seeing her as a person."
"Oh, I'm sure she'll want to speak with you, too, Edward," Rosalie purred. "She seems very friendly. And not too particular about who, or what, she allows into her bed," she smirked maliciously.
Edward's hands curled into fists and he glared furiously at Rosalie, willing her to be quiet. I wondered what else Rosalie was thinking but not saying aloud.
"Rosalie, please. We don't even know the girl," I sighed. Rosalie's reaction was not unexpected. For all her great beauty, my eldest daughter was deeply insecure and jealous, prone to petty competitiveness. It was my son's reaction that surprised me again. Edward was, above all, a gentleman and would disapprove of Rosalie's implication, but I wondered at the intensity of his reaction. Could this Isabella really be more to him that just a girl from school?
He rolled his eyes at me.
Jasper ignored the entire exchange and continued on his line of thought. "So Edward decided to speak with her tomorrow. That might be part of it . . . It would help if we knew what Isabella was thinking."
"Yes, I know it would!" Edward snapped.
"I didn't mean it as criticism, Edward," Jasper placated. "I simply meant it would help to know what choices she made that could lead to this unlikely future."
Carlisle proposed a theory. "Maybe she was thinking something that meshed with Edward's decision to talk with her and, together, it created Alice's vision. Perhaps she was watching one of those movies that romanticize vampires, like "Interview with the Vampire" or "The Lost Boys". She may have been feeling sympathetic towards vampires. She may even have been romanticizing about our kind. I'm not saying she made any choices about Edward in particular, but the combination of Edward's decision to return to school and speak with her and her state of mind may have been enough to spark Alice's vision."
We were all silent as we considered this. It seemed the most plausible answer to me. It made a certain amount of sense. In fact, it made much more sense that Alice's strange vision alone.
Then, Edward laughed once and the tension seemed to drain out of him. "That must be it. It's an unlikely combination of circumstances all adding up to an impossible conclusion." Then he grinned at Alice. "You're just seeing things, Alice, that's all,' he said as he reached out quickly to ruffle her short hair. That in itself was unusual. Edward rarely initiated physical contact.
"I'll see you for school in a few hours," he told his siblings. "I'm driving." He climbed the stairs and returned to his room, shutting the door quietly behind him.
Realizing the excitement was apparently over, Rosalie and Emmett left to return to their distractions upstairs in their own room.
Carlisle settled back down on the couch beside me and picked up his book once more.
Only Alice still looked upset. Looking down, she muttered dejectedly, "But he looked so happy."
Author's Note: Please let me know if you liked this or not. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!